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Canada Women’s National Team Controversy Unpacked

CanWNT Player Janine Beckie Scores a Goal at the Arnold Clark Cup on February 17, 2023

NEWS – At about mid-day today, the Canadian Women’s National Team dropped a bomb on Canadian soccer. In a joint statement by all the players, they outlined their frustration and dismay at Canada Soccer and their management of funding for the national team program.

With cuts to training camps, and no home games in Canada before the Women’s World Cup, there is a lot of information to process and a lot of history to dig up. Here is the gist of it so far.

Canada Women’s National Team Controversy Revealed

CanWNT/XNT Statement Explained

Outrage and Disappointment

The Women’s statement was clear from the get-go.

“The Canadian Women’s National Team is both outraged and deeply concerned with the news of significant cuts to the national team programs for 2023”.

According to the rest of the statement, they explain that Canada Soccer, the governing body for Canadian soccer, has cut significant funding towards the Women’s National Team program. This includes cutting full training camp windows, youth camps, various staff and players eligible to attend these camps, and more.

“Despite our strong track record of success and history-making achievements for more than a decade, we continue to be told there is not enough money to adequately fund our program and our youth teams”.

The timing of this could not be worse. The CanWNT/XNT is set to play in the SheBelieves Cup in less than a week. The invitational soccer tournament will serve as a warm-up competition before the Women’s World Cup later this year. Come to their opening match, the team will enter the field as reigning Olympic Gold medalists.

READ MORE: CanWNT makes history with first-ever Olympic gold medal

Yet, they were told of these cuts just recently.

Defiant and Blunt

“We have been told, quite literally, that Canada Soccer cannot adequately fund the Women’s National Team, and they have waited to tell us until now when we are less than six months from the World Cup”

Many believe that Canada has a good chance to go all the way to this tournament, but this may hamper their chances given the background noise that has been ongoing for over a year. The team, however, will not stand aside and let this go for the sake of silverware.

“We are tired – tired of constantly having to fight for fair and equal treatment”

“If Canada Soccer is not willing or able to support our team, new leadership should be found”

The statement was reposted by a majority of the Canadian Women’s National team on Twitter.

CanMNT Show Support

Less than twenty minutes later, the Canadian Men’s National Team also released a statement, through their player association (CMNSTPA). The statement indicated their support for their national team counterpart, as well as continued disappointment with Canada Soccer.

Their statement, however, was more pointed. They directly called out Canada Soccer’s secrecy around a deal that was made back in 2019 with Canada Soccer Business (CSB), a private business made up of CPL-franchise owners.

“How Canada Soccer is allocating or using funds is unclear and cloaked in secrecy”.

“Despite the funding from FIFA and fan interest following the Men’s National Team’s qualification for and participation in the 2022 World Cup, Canada Soccer’s revenue streams have been in large part diverted to Canada Soccer Business, to the benefit of the owners of for-profit minor league professional soccer teams…”

“It has been reported that the agreement was never properly approved and that despite having an opportunity to annul or terminate the agreement when its terms were breached by Canada Soccer Business, Canada Soccer did not do so”.

The agreement done back in 2019 now casts a shadow over Canada Soccer and its handling of both the Men’s and the Women’s National Teams, and the Men’s statement did not hold back on its potential implications:

“We are in a pivotal moment in time for soccer in Canada. This is a once-in-a-generation, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the sport in Canada, and the current leadership of Canada Soccer is putting that opportunity at risk.”

CanWNT/XNT On Strike; Canada Soccer Respond

Embed from Getty Images

Rick Westhead also reported that, according to Christine Sinclair and Janine Beckie, the Women’s team is officially on strike unless there is a resolution.

One Soccer corroborated the story and indicated that Canada’s participation in the SheBelieves Cup, alongside any potential training before it, would be suspended until further notice.

This likely means that Canada’s opening match against the United States will be postponed if not suspended, and puts the whole invitational into disarray.

In response to this, Canada Soccer released a statement citing that they have “a proven track record of supporting women’s soccer” and that they have “already issued a mutually-agreed retroactive payment” for their demands for equitable play between themselves and the Men’s team.

However, there was no mention or explanation of the significant cuts, the lack of funding, or the CSB deal in their statement.

It will remain to be seen if any resolution will be met in the coming days.


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